The Legend of the Myrtles

Louisiana is saturated in mysteries, legends and ghost stories but nothing embodies the true essence of the state’s dark past like The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville. A mere glance at The Myrtles Plantation envelops visitors in the serene atmosphere that is a Louisiana gothic day, from ancient oak trees dripping in moss to the antebellum architecture of the plantation home.

Though serene, visitors do not go to Myrtles Plantation for a peaceful atmosphere but instead for the darkness that lurks in the 1796’s plantation’s history. Tonya Lavergne is an employee at The Myrtles Plantation loves everything supernatural and The Myrtles Plantation has always left a sense of foreboding in every guest she has encountered.

The mansion features a 125-foot verandah, ornamental ironwork, hand-painted stained glass, open-pierced frieze work crown molding, Aubusson tapestry, Baccarat crystal chandelier, Carrara marble mantels, gold-leafed French furnishings and of course, if you are lucky on the day you visit, ghosts. Amy McKinney a Hammond, Louisiana resident and multiple visitor of The Myrtles Plantation has always loved the sprawling oak trees and beautiful architecture of the home.

The Myrtles Plantation began in 1796 when General David Bradford fled the United States and arrived at Bayou Sara, a Spanish colony at the time. He began a new life after building The Myrtles Plantation and in 1820 it was sold to his son-in-law, Judge Clark Woodruff. Fourteen years later in 1834 the house was once again sold to Ruffin Stirling who completed the construction of the mansion that visitors can see today. In 1854 Stirling died and the house was passed down his lineage until 1891 when it was purchased by Harrison Milton Williams.

The current owners, John and Teeta Moss, continue to open the ‘most haunted house in America’ for tours and overnight guest who are brave enough to face the truth of the legends and ghost’s stories surrounding the centuries old home. McKinney who once stayed in one of the rooms in the plantation home would never forget her experience. “Sleeping in one of the rooms at The Myrtles Plantation is incredible,” said McKinney, “it’s like the air being sucked from your lungs at times having to rationalize all the spookiness that you experience when staying at The Myrtles Plantation.”

The most well-known of the stories surrounding The Myrtles Plantation is that of the slave girl named Chloe. Chloe was supposedly owned by Clark Woodruff. According to one story, Chloe would listen in at keyholes to learn news of Woodruff’s business dealings or for other purposes. After being caught, one of her ears was cut off and she wore a green turban to hide it. Chloe supposedly baked a birthday cake containing extremely poisonous ingredients to be served to the Woodruff family. According to the legends, her plan backfired. Only Clark’s wife and two daughters ate the cake, and all died from the poison. Chloe was then supposedly hanged by the other slaves, and thrown into the Mississippi River, either as punishment or to escape punishment by Clark Woodruff.

There are many other legends that surround the plantation. It is said that the house was built over an Indian burial ground as the ghost of a young Native American woman has been reported. According to Lavergne, “What the multiple owners of the plantation did not know was that the land had originally belonged to a local Indian tribe. The Native American’s used the land as sacred burial grounds and as most people know this type of sacrilege is ground for supernatural activity.”

The Myrtles Plantation is dripping in rich history, seen and unseen. McKinney, feels that there is nowhere else quite like The Myrtles Plantation and that is what makes it such an interesting place to visit. This plantation home caters to the extraordinary and guests can walk into their very own ghost story to tell for generations. Lane Macaluso a political science major at Southeastern Louisiana University had recently visited The Myrtles Plantation as a club trip, “I have always felt a deep connection to history, especially Louisiana’s, and The Myrtles Plantation embodies that perfectly. Everyone should visit this historic home.” The Myrtles Plantation is open to walking tours during the day and evening and for a fee visitors are welcomed to spend the night in some of the rooms, if they dare.

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